Cyberchondria: Exploring the Phenomenon of Self-Diagnosing Tools on the Internet
Increasing numbers of people are accessing health-related information online. In particular, a study conducted by Harris Interactive (2006) found that 136 million U.S. adults have gone online to look for health or medical information. Moreover, the concept of "cyberchondria" is based on the notion that a person looks up their symptoms and then self-diagnoses themselves (Roscoe, 2001). Thus, the emergence of self-diagnosing tools on the Internet helps to frame intriguing discussions about the social implications of technology, such as empowerment or misinformation in the context of online health consumption. The purpose of this presentation is to sort out current perspectives on knowledge, health, and technology. In particular, the nature of online self-diagnosing tools, their connection with users, and their place in a “knowledge society” are examined.
Keywords: Technology, Knowledge and Society, Cyber-Identities
Librarian, Vera P. Shiffman Medical Library, Wayne State University